I can’t pretend I’m anything but relieved and thrilled that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the US presidential election. But the line some of my equally liberal SA politico friends have taken with Donald Trump — and that’s been reflected in serious articles this past week — is also not to be laughed at.
I’ve previously acknowledged the case some have made for "Trumpism", if not for Trump himself. I agree with many of the arguments, especially the urgent need to shake things up and refrain from a return to politics as usual.
Trump was a perfect example of that, and it would be churlish not to acknowledge that the US economy and employment grew while he was in the White House — at least, until Covid came along.
"Sleepy Joe" is far from the best alternative. His 40 years in the Senate and eight as vice-president make him the quintessential Washington insider, and count against him as much as they might favour him.
But Biden is steeped in the old way of doing things. As much as he offers hope, he remains a beacon of America’s past. His experience will help as he begins to heal the damage wrought by his predecessor. But that won’t be enough.
As many commentators have reflected, much more — and much different — will be required to salve America after years of mutual antagonism.
Trump’s victory in 2016 clearly showed that change was needed in a country tired of political elitism and paternalism. His unsuccessful 2020 bid still gave him a record 70-million plus votes, and is anything but a loss for "Trumpism" and the issues that matter to half of Americans. Trump’s style of politics, if not his message, is more relevant than ever. In my book, Trump himself was wrong, as much as Trumpism and its 70-million supporters are not.
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